They shouted ‘Heil Hitler’ in derision as I began to address an anti-gun rally in Gympie some years ago – a rally I had organised for the deputy Prime Minister of Australia at the time, Mr Tim Fischer. Many obviously hated me while others said, ‘Pastor Fricke is going into politics for sure.’ They knew that that I had just received an invitation to a private audience with the then Prime Minister Mr John Howard.
They were all wrong. My heart is with the Gospel and the Mission of Christ on earth, a mission directed to all but especially to the poor, despised and needy. My best buddy is a dispossessed, peasant rickshaw driver in Indonesia who had nothing, no future and who learnt English by reading the Bible. But this much for sure: I have always been controversial and rarely the flavour of the month, even in ‘the church’.
I love my church, the LCA. I am deeply Lutheran at heart but I don’t think of myself as a church person. I love the concept ‘the world is my parish’. I sure love people – and those who are hurting are my brothers and sisters in a special way.
I started AFA in 2003 accidentally. I had started to visit Asia and write some stories. I saw huge needs – and it grew from there. I make many mistakes but I do believe in action. ‘Just do it!’ I love to say.
My dear wife Betty has a lot to put up with and my four children wonder at times about their father, but I am proud of them. Couldn’t do without them. Born in Germany during World War II, I know all about death and destruction – something that pierced my heart but that still drives me passionately to ‘rescue the perishing’ in missions of mercy.
GRACE is the number one word of my life. Everything is undeserved grace. May I just say, in a paraphrase of what St Paul says in 1 Cor. 15, I am the least of God’s servants, not fit to be called one because I bring shame on the name of Christ because of my sin. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace has not been in vain for me.